Sunday, August 07, 2011

Helicopter downing in Afghanistan kills 30 Americans

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

Insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans, most of them belonging to the same elite Navy SEALs unit that killed Osama bin Laden, as well as seven Afghan commandos, U.S. officials said Saturday. It was the deadliest single loss for American forces in the decade-old war.

The downing was a stinging blow to the lauded, tight-knit SEAL Team 6, months after its crowning achievement. It was also a heavy setback for the U.S.-led coalition as it begins to draw down thousands of combat troops fighting what has become an increasingly costly and unpopular war.

None of the 22 SEAL personnel killed in the crash were part of the team that killed bin Laden in a May raid in Pakistan, but they belonged to the same unit. Their deployment in the raid in which the helicopter crashed would suggest that the target was a high-ranking insurgent figure.


The deaths bring to 365 the number of coalition troops killed this year in Afghanistan and 42 this month.

More here.

Of course, the loss of any human life in this way is a terrible waste, but given all the talk of deficit reduction these days, it is well worth noting that these SEALs were the absolute best of the best, worth hundreds of millions of dollars in training alone, which is now gone, along with their lives. So Bin Laden is dead but the war continues. For some reason. I'm not entirely sure why. Needless to say, none of these men would be dead now if we weren't still there.

So...why are we still there? I mean, we're not seriously trying to get Afghanistan, which is, and has always been, more of a collection of tribes and clans than it is a nation, to actually become stable, are we? That's about as laughable as the notion that massive federal spending cuts are going to mellow out Wall Street investors.

Oh yeah. Right. Sorry. I forgot.